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Overly nervous or reasonable?

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My DD is a young 7 and struggles with sensory issues and anxiety. Due to a lack of local relatives and the fact that when I traveled for work, DD and DH traveled with me, DD has never spent the night without me in the same building, usually one room over.


She's been invited to a small slumber party by one of her best friends. The friend's mother is one of the people who "Gets" DD best, and has known DD since she was born. DD is excited about the prospect. She will know two of the girls fairly well (her friend and another little girl she sees occasionally), and probably won't have seen any of the others since her friend's LAST birthday party, since they're classmates at the other child's school.


My concern, though is this-the friend's house is literally an hour drive from mine. It would be very reasonable for me to stay around for the first part of the party (if for no other reason than it gives the moms time to talk), but ultimately, it's a slumber party and it would be hard to justify my bedding down in a sleeping bag with a bunch of 7-8 yr old girls-and there wouldn't be room in the house for me to sleep over, and DD is insistent that she can handle it. I'm nervous about being an hour away if DD has a meltdown due to panic or sensory issues. Would it be too paranoid, as a parent, to rent a hotel room nearby so I can be there quickly if needed, but still give DD her space since the adults present are ones I trust?

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My dd does not do well with slumber parties either. While she has enjoyed some, there have been many that she has chosen not to stay all night. I always make sure she has a cell phone. She calls me if she needs me.


I probably would leave her there, and head home, but be prepared to drive out to get her if need be. If it makes you feel better to be closer and you can afford it, then by all means enjoy some time to yourself in a nearby hotel room. You know your daughter best--she's still a little girl, with or without sensory issues, so do what you deem necessary to make both of you comfortable.

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That's pretty young, but generally, I'd prefer to take advantage of a situation that involves a lot of self-motivation as it arises. In preparation, I'd discuss with her what to do if she gets worried - the answer doesn't necessarily have to mean you rushing back her. I might start by asking her what she thinks she could do if she misses home (or whatever her issue might be) to help herself feel better - hug her stuffed animal, look at a picture of you, call you, think of a special memory, etc. I'd also try to prepare her for the idea that she might have trouble falling/staying asleep, and what she might do if that happens (and if you figure that one out, let me know lol).


I probably would not get a hotel room.


(FWIW, my ds8 recently attended a slumber party. In the morning, when the dad said it was time to go home, ds exlaimed "yay!" lol. He hardly slept at all.)

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For a first time out, and so far away, you might be better off just calling it a "late late night" party. Stay there and chat, or go out for a late meal/movie in the area, and pick her up super-late to go home.


I've had first sleepovers go both ways - my 2 sons have done fine with them (my oldest did his first fairly young, around 5, and that went fine. It was a good hour+ away from me, but with a good friend that he knew well & the dad was on the same page as me for how I generally deal with these sorts of things (which means, basically, that he wasn't going to call me & I wasn't interested in getting called if ds fussed!). My general stand on sleepovers is that if you want to do them you had BETTER not call me in the middle of the night to pick you up - cuz that will be the last sleepover you have for a few years. That's worked well for me! :D


That said, though, I know a lot of ppl who are far more willing to go pick up fussy kids. I know 2 in particular that have done "first sleepovers" at my place & ended up calling parents to pick them up late. 1 of those tried several times over a year or so to sleepover & kept bailing in the middle, until I finally got irritated & told them in no uncertain terms that there was 1 more chance & if he blew it then obviously he wasn't mature enough to do it (he was 11, for crying out loud!). The other did fine the remaining times he has slept over.

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When my son was 7, he had an opportunity to go on a two-night outing with his friends from school. At that age, he had never been away from home before. And it was more than an hour away from our home. Very much like your situation.


I did choose to go along and to spend the night with the girls. (In our case, it was girls in one room; boys in another for the overnight part.) It was fine. It was kind of fun.


Kids that age are very young and inexperienced. They tend to think whatever is going on around them is normal. They are not likely to make fun of your daughter. Especially since the mom "gets it," perhaps you can be introduced as a helper.


My son's outing was a good experience and paved the way for many other successful outings later. He's 14 now, and has often (and easily) gone to week-long sleep-away camp.

Edited by Cindyg
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